He’s played superhero types before — starring as Captain Excellent in Paper Man, and as the darkly heroic Hannibal King in Blade: Trinity — but this is his first attempt at playing an unqualified good vs. evil guy.
Despite lots of TV work (including a few seasons on the sitcom Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place) the first time most people got a good look at the Vancouver -born Reynolds was as the wisecracking Van Wilder in the movie of the same name.
The success of that movie threatened to typecast the actor as an arrogant, man-child character, always ready with a funny putdown, and while he has followed that course to a certain extent, Reynolds has also been more adventurous in his choices of roles than people give him credit for.
Peppered throughout his major Hollywood successes like The Proposal (co-starring with Sandra Bullock) have been roles like The Amityville Horror’s psychologically unstable father and the crackhead Gary in the thriller The Nines.
Successful or not, those movies showed a performer looking to stretch his acting muscles (and not just display his prodigious ab muscles).
Here are some other of his movies you might’ve missed the first time around:
Adventureland: Set in a rundown amusement park during the Reagan years, in Adventureland Reynolds plays a part-time musician, womanizer and maintenance man who claims to have jammed with Lou Reed, even though he refers to one of Reed’s best known songs as Shed A Little Love instead of Satellite of Love.
Buried: Buried begins with a Blair Witch close-up—all eyes and nose—of Reynolds. He’s a civilian truck driver in Iraq, taken hostage, buried underground, who will be left to die unless a ransom is paid. Unable to rely on his usual comic timing and bulging muscles, Reynolds hits a career high, keeping us intrigued for most of the 90-minute running time.
Definitely, Maybe: Playing a divorcee telling his daughter the story of how he met her mother, Reynolds’s sense of timing is bang on, and his way with physical humour works here — a subtle sight gag that sees him, with his big hands, drinking from a tiny juice box draws laughs — and since he is in every scene, it’s ultimately his charisma that carries the movie.
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